Protests take place across Cuba as the country faces shortages of COVID-19 vaccines 2 weeks ago

Protests take place across Cuba as the country faces shortages of COVID-19 vaccines

The protestors have also been angered by the economic struggles in the country.

Thousands of Cubans took part in the biggest protests the country has seen in decades against the island's communist government.

Advertisement

Footage on social media sees crowds marching through cities, including the capital Havana, shouting "Down with the dictatorship!"

The population has been angered by the collapse of the Cuban economy  - which shrank by 11% last year after being hit hard by the pandemic and US sanctions - and the nation's struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Cuba recorded nearly 7,000 daily infections and 47 deaths. The protestors were demanding a faster vaccination programme to halt the spread of the virus.

The president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has condemned the protestors, saying that they were a provocation by mercenaries hired by the US.

Advertisement

He said in an address on TV: "The order to fight has been given - into the street, revolutionaries!"

The top US diplomat for Latin America, Julie Chung, tweeted: "We are deeply concerned by 'calls to combat' in Cuba."

"We stand by the Cuban people's right for peaceful assembly. We call for calm and condemn any violence."

Advertisement

One of the protestors told the BBC: "This is the day. We can't take it anymore. There is no food, there is no medicine, there is no freedom. They do not let us live. We are already tired."

The anti-government protests began in the city of San Antonio de los Baños, which is southwest of Havana, but anger and other protests quickly spread throughout the country.

Advertisement

The Cuban economy has been struggling as one of its most important sectors, tourism, has been decimated by travel restrictions in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country has also suffered a poor sugar harvest, with sugar being a key earner for the country that is exported across the world.